Monday 28 October 2013

Yet Another Haringey Failing.

A toddler suffered horrific abuse after a series of blunders by social workers, police and doctors in a case that has chilling echoes of the Baby P tragedy.
Haringey council, which was also at the centre of the Baby P scandal, today “apologised unreservedly” after the abuse of a new child named as Child T emerged.
Over a period of eight months, Child T was taken to hospital at least three times and on one occasion he had more than 50 bruises on his body. He had been beaten with a “belt, stick and a cable”.

The report, published today by the Haringey Local Safeguarding Children Board, reveals a number of missed opportunities to stop the abuse earlier.
The board’s chairman, Graham Badman, said: “What is clear is that because of failings in the system this child suffered physical abuse that could have been prevented.”
The report was published as a parole board ruled Baby Peter’s mother, Tracey Connelly, can be released after serving four years in prison.

The new abuse case also comes 13 years after the death of Victoria Climbie who Haringey also failed to protect. 
Child T’s injuries were first noted four years after the death of 17-month-old Peter Connelly.

In June 2010 when he was seen by doctors at North Middlesex Hospital he had bruising around the eyes, forehead and nose as well as injuries to his chest and hip area.
His stepfather, a heroin user identified as Mr C, said the boy often ran around the house and “bangs and hits himself on the wall”.
But after an assessment, the consultant paediatrician wrongly faxed a report to Enfield council.

The report stated that when police later visited the home, officers had “no concerns” about the child’s welfare or the “home conditions” with the mother and step father, who are originally from Poland.

At follow-up meetings, no decisions about how to proceed were taken by social workers and police child abuse experts.

At one point, Mr C took his child to his GP concerned he “bruised easily”.
A series of chances were then missed by agencies to investigate what a health worker called in a letter, which was not followed up, “quite uncommon injuries” for a child of that age.

Three months later, during an appointment with a GP and a later appointment with a nurse at the surgery, he was found to have additional bruising to his back, arms and legs.
In February 2011, police were called to the family home and officers noticed Child T was extensively bruised.
The following day he was taken by police to hospital where he was found to have more than 50 bruises of varying ages and sizes.
He told the doctor of having been hit with a belt and a stick by Mr C.

Later that month, in an interview with a social worker Child T said he had told his mother about being hit. He also mentioned “daddy” had hit him with a belt and cable.

Child T’s stepfather was sentenced to four years in prison in October 2011 for wilfully assaulting a young person under the age of 16 and will be deported.

The boy’s mother, identified only as Ms B, is understood to have returned to Poland.

The boy, who is now six, and his three siblings were removed from the family home in 2011 - more than a year after the first abuse was noted - and are in care.

The report, which identified similar failings as with the Baby P case, states: “The correspondence with the abuse of Peter Connelly cannot go unmarked.”
It continues that the “list of concerns sounds like a text book presentation of frequently found weakness in the protection of children.”

Richard Wilson, leader of the opposition Liberal Democrats, said: “Yet again our council has failed to protect a vulnerable child”.
The board noted a weakness across all the agencies.
It stated that there was a “reluctance to ‘think the unthinkable” and recognise all the adults in the family as perpetrators of abuse”.
The board noted there were “major changes” in the way Haringey’s services are run since the Child T case.

Haringey council leader Claire Kober said: “We fully accept the findings of this SCR and apologise unreservedly for the failings set out in the report.
“Together with partner agencies, we could and should have intervened more swiftly.
“This case occurred during a period of rebuilding in our children’s service.
“We have been working hard over the past three years to make significant improvements, which have been recognised by Ofsted.”

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